28 February 2010 2nd Sunday of Lent
Genesis 15, 5-18; Psalm 27; Phil 3,17 – 4,1; Luke 9, 28-36
Was there a point in your life when you were about to take the greatest plunge in your entire existence but then you wanted to be assured that the people whom you loved most understood what you were about to do — or at least, knew who you really were? Take these examples.
You just graduated from high school and you’re going to study far from your home and friends. You knew the challenges that awaited you such as loneliness, homesickness, financial difficulties, or alienation in a “strange” place. And you already decided that you would take the risk because it was a necessary step towards fulfilling your dreams. However, you had to make sure that your friends will still be your friends no matter what happened.
Or, you were in a life crisis and you wanted to make sure that in that journey, your friends would continue to be really your friends and your loved ones would truly love you for what you were. And you wanted to be sure that they knew who and what you are — so that whatever happened, they would remain constant and faithful. This situation could be more concrete when your doctor announced that you had a debilitating disease or you decided to tell your family your darkest secret.
In other words, these were the elements: a) you trusted the recipients of your revelation; b) you brought them to a very personal place where you articulated who you really were; c) then you spelled out to them that you were about to take a great turn in your life that would be very challenging; and finally, d) you expressed to them that you wanted them with you.
If you have analogous experiences like the ones we’ve mentioned today, then you have a comparable transfiguration experience as that of Jesus. The Transfiguration story tells us that Jesus invites His closest disciples to go to the mountain where He prays. And in that mountain, He reveals to His disciples who He really is when He changes His appearance (v. 29). His clothes become dazzling white; He converses with two of the greatest persons in Scripture; and a voice from heaven affirms that He is indeed God’s Son. With Moses, the Lawgiver, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law; and with Elijah, the Prophet, Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises since the time of Abraham (first reading). Moses and Elijah are the signs that Jesus will fulfill the expectations of the Hebrew people.
And then, when they go down the mountain, Jesus tells them that He will suffer. From the Transfiguration, Jesus will fix His eyes on Jerusalem where He will die. With the experience in the mountain, Jesus knows that His disciples will eventually understand Him as both the Son of Man and the Son of God. The admonition, “Listen to Him” underscores the importance of what Jesus was saying about His own mission and the nature of discipleship.
A final thought. The Transfiguration appears in three liturgical seasons: Advent, Lent and Ordinary Time. I would like to believe that they are not accidents. Advent and Lent as seasons of preparation to the peak liturgical seasons of Christmas and Easter respectively encourages us to change and to undergo some transformations in our hearts and our way of life. And even in the daily grind of things, the Lord continues to help us transform into His image and likeness.
If the Transfiguration is God’s revelation of Jesus as the Son of Man and the Son of God, then the Transfiguration in Advent prepares us to experience Jesus, our God, becoming human. In like manner, the Transfiguration in Lent prepares us to experience Jesus, our brother, as Divine at Easter. And finally, the Transfiguration at Ordinary Time reminds us that our daily lives has to be transform towards a life lived as children of God.